Our arrival in Hana two days ago coincided with the setting of the sun. On the windward (eastern) side of Haleakala, the sun sets over the mountain a little past 4:30, and the area is quickly plunged into darkness.

Hana is in a subtropical climate; the air is much more humid here than anywhere else on the island, and the vegetation is more lush. At dusk, mosquitoes reign supreme. Every night it rains, and the chorus of myriad birds and other animals assail our ears in the morning. Our new home for the next few days was truly in the rainforest.

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Yesterday morning we decided to drive past Hana to Ohe’o Gulch, or the Seven Sacred Pools (named as such in the 1940s to attract visitors, even though they are not considered sacred, nor are there seven of them).

Nine miles of twisty turns and one-lane bridges later, we arrived.

Ohe’o Gulch is a series of waterfalls and pools that lead to the ocean. The view is spectacular, and the water is quite comfortable for swimming. Between the fresh water and the diving rocks (despite the multiple signs forbidding diving), I would have to say it qualifies as a swimming hole, although I never grew up around swimming holes myself.

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The first waterfall is fairly small, but I was still pleased to be able to swim up to the falls and dunk my head under for a little shower.

The pool just above, which empties into the one everyone was using, was more difficult to reach, the path made up of precarious rocks and narrow ledges. Only the daredevils ventured that high, and even fewer of those kids swam in the pool above. It was probably colder and more slippery…plus there was the added risk of getting swept over the falls. Most of the kids who climbed that path jumped back into the first pool with a loud scream and splash.

We stayed there for a while, watching the kids climb up and jump down. The breeze from the ocean was warm and salty, and the sun shone merrily on the scene.

We were pretty far east on the island, and I wanted to try to see the Big Island from where we were. After all, we could see Maui when we stayed on the Big Island; why wouldn’t we be able to see the Big Island from Maui?

So after I had sufficiently dried off, we wandered the cliffs, searching the horizon for some land mass.

And there it was! It was hard to see through the veil of vog that usually surrounds the Big Island, but the telltale snowy peaks of Mauna Kea peeked up above the clouds, and the observatories winked in the sun.

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After a while, the shadows told us that the sun was getting lower in the sky, and we made our way back to town before the drive became too difficult.

And as night fell, the rainforest took over.

Ohe’o Gulch
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